News: Creating the Perfect Instructor – Inside Higher Ed

News: Creating the Perfect Instructor – Inside Higher Ed.

Interesting article on what goes into making the perfect instructor. While this was done at the college level, I think it says a lot for us teaching secondary.

The information was gleaned from 400+ submissions for Tutor of the Year. Rankings were given to qualities based on the number of times they showed up.

What Students Most Value in an Instructor

Great teaching 30.5%
General positivity 28.1%
Influential 11.5%
“Edutaining” 8.1%
Going above and beyond 7.4%
Care for students 5.1%
Self-awareness of learning 4.8%
Assessment and feedback 4.2%

So the first two are not so surprising. And I’m a bit surprised that “edutaining” didn’t rank higher. That assessment and feedback ranked at less than 5% is eye-opening. I am fully aware of the fact that I’m an old student, but I love feedback and I take it to heart. I make changes based on feedback, and I am not a happy student when I get an assignment back AFTER I’ve had to turn in the next one, especially when there is feedback and I needed to change something on that assignment. I do wonder if it relates in part to the subject of a conversation I had recently with my friend Sunnie. She said that her online students don’t make changes based on her feedback. I don’t think they know how. I try to teach students how to use comments to improve, how to self-assess. I give them opportunities to do that AND reflect on their work and yet when I specifically say, “Go back over that, double check your work, see how you really did” 4/5 students will just make sure they transferred their answers correctly – NOT that the work was correct. I’m sitting here wondering now if this is an art losing ground as fast as the dodo.


7 thoughts on “News: Creating the Perfect Instructor – Inside Higher Ed

  1. I haven’t been able to figure out whether the lack of response to feedback is laziness or inability, but I am pretty sure it is both depending on the student. The core issue is low expectations from adults IMO. Additionally, I think that if Feedback were separated from Assessment then it would have ranked closer to 10%, with Assessment remaining low (or lower).

    I have also noticed that most students seem to care about my attitude as much or more than they do about what lesson we are covering, or whether or not I fail at being entertaining. My primary focus is to be consistent, and the rest of the pieces fall into place where they can. Teaching is the most insane profession I have ever experienced, and the teenagers make it incredibly entertaining and frustrating.

  2. Nathan, It’s that dichotomy (entertaining and frustrating) that makes me hate and love it! Same reason I periodically look at the want ads. Surely there is something out there just as gratifying that isn’t a roller coaster day-in and day-out!

  3. Well I’ve had to adjust to the fact that mainstream culture does not value intellect and education. Given this unfortunate truth, I try to empower my students by giving examples of how learning is beneficial for their futures. No apparent success with this approach so far, but I’ll be re-evaluating things in the next month so we shall see.

  4. Lumping feedback and assessment together doesn’t work. Students go through the K12 system learning that grades are the be-all, end-all for school. Feedback is rarely used as a formative assessment and so students just don’t know what that means. Feedback is more than just jotting a few notes about what the student did wrong to get less than an A. And until we start using feedback effectively, students won’t use it effectively either.

    Thanks for the shout-out, Bitsy 🙂

  5. I don’t know that lumping the two together was intentional on the part of the authors. Since that category was rock bottom, they may have just combined them to give them more leverage – like 4.2% is leverage.

    I was thinking more about the feedback when I read it. I need that feedback so that I can make changes to be assessed appropriately. But in my role as a teacher, I think more often of teaching self-assessment which does walk hand-in-hand with whatever feedback is given.

    Grades have become way too big an issue. It’s why students and parents think they can bargain for them. Forget learning. We can thank testing to a large extent for this.

    You are welcome. I think of you a lot when I write about educational topics – You and Jan and Wendy.

  6. I have both your blogs on my google reader and I never miss a post! I don’t comment often I know — I always have to go searching for my wordpress login! 🙂 Now I’ve got it on a macro so I just hit two keys and I’m in! Hopefully I’ll get better commenting.

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